Results from a new PET/CT scanner using lutetium-yttrium oxyorthosilicate (LYSO) crystals for the PET component are presented. This scanner, which operates in a fully 3-dimensional mode, has a diameter of 90 cm and an axial field of view of 18 cm. It uses 4 x 4 x 22 mm(3) LYSO crystals arranged in a pixelated Anger-logic detector design. This scanner was designed to perform as a high-performance conventional PET scanner as well as provide good timing resolution to operate as a time-of-flight (TOF) PET scanner. METHODS: Performance measurements on the scanner were made using the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) NU2-2001 procedures to benchmark its conventional imaging capabilities. The scatter fraction and noise equivalent count (NEC) measurements with the NEMA cylinder (20-cm diameter) were repeated for 2 larger cylinders (27-cm and 35-cm diameter), which better represent average and heavy patients. New measurements were designed to characterize its intrinsic timing resolution capability, which defines its TOF performance. Additional measurements to study the impact of pulse pileup at high counting rates on timing, as well as energy and spatial, resolution were also performed. Finally, to characterize the effect of TOF reconstruction on lesion contrast and noise, the standard NEMA/International Electrotechnical Commission torso phantom as well as a large 35-cm-diameter phantom with both hot and cold spheres were imaged for varying scan times. RESULTS: The transverse and axial resolution near the center is 4.8 mm. The absolute sensitivity of this scanner measured with a 70-cm-long line source is 6.6 cps/kBq, whereas scatter fraction is 27% measured with a 70-cm-long line source in a 20-cm-diameter cylinder. For the same line source cylinder, the peak NEC rate is measured to be 125 kcps at an activity concentration of 17.4 kBq/mL (0.47 microCi/mL). The 2 larger cylinders showed a decrease in the peak NEC due to increased attenuation, scatter, and random coincidences, and the peak occurs at lower activity concentrations. The system coincidence timing resolution was measured to be 585 ps. The timing resolution changes as a function of the singles rate due to pulse pileup and could impact TOF image reconstruction. Image-quality measurements with the torso phantom show that very high quality images can be obtained with short scan times (1-2 min per bed position). However, the benefit of TOF is more apparent with the large 35-cm-diameter phantom, where small spheres are detectable only with TOF information for short scan times. CONCLUSION: The Gemini TF whole-body scanner represents the first commercially available fully 3-dimensional PET scanner that achieves TOF capability as well as conventional imaging capabilities. The timing resolution is also stable over a long duration, indicating the practicality of this device. Excellent image quality is achieved for whole-body studies in 10-30 min, depending on patient size. The most significant improvement with TOF is seen for the heaviest patients.
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